My Best Tips for Organizing Success

I found this list of tips in my handouts and have expanded on each of them for you. Hope they help you with your organizing success.

  •  OHIO – Only Handle it Once! This can be a hard one for all of us.  The tendency is to just “put it here for now”, however, all that does is really avoid the decision that needs to be made.  It is best if you can decide what to do with the item whether it is to donate or to put it in its home and do it.  One of the sayings in the Clutter Clearers’ Peer Support Group is “what is in the box, stays in the box”.
  •  Decide on the function of the space.  If item does not fit with function out it goes (or get it to where it belongs) I love this one!  Think about what you want to do in your rooms.  So, in your kitchen, you want items that help you to cook meals, etc. not other things like mail, paperwork, etc.
  • Start with easy stuff.  Yes!!  This will help you strengthen those organizing/de-cluttering muscles.  Once you see that you are able to do this, things will get easier.
  • Only keep amount of stuff that fits in your space.  This is a tough one.  A lot of the women I work with live in very small apartments, sometimes just a room.  So, really your space does dictate to you about how much stuff you can fit into it.
  • Do not leave targeted area once you start sorting!  Right….its so easy to get distracted when we leave to put something where it belongs only to find something else that looks interesting…..oh my…you know where I am going with this.
  • Minimize distractions.  Turn off your phone, your tv, don’t answer the door, etc.  We live in such a busy world these days.  It can be so hard to stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Develop strategies to deal with automatic thoughts, distorted thinking.  It can be very helpful to pay attention to your thoughts, (write them down if you like), be in touch with your feelings and look at what actions you are taking.  A mindfulness practice can help you to have more awareness of what you are doing with your time, energy and space.
  • Make a plan not to acquire any other items.  This is always the first exercise/homework that we do in the Clearing Clutter Support Group and people always can make a change in this area.  You might decide that if you bring something new in, that you need to let something go.
  • Set time before next session to maintain previous target area.  Yes, how do you keep that area clear and prevent the same thing from happening again.  Have an awareness of this space, take a picture of it and do not allow anyone including yourself to add items to this area.
  • Do not end sorting/organizing session without putting away sorted items.  This can be tough especially when you are feeling tired after all of your hard work.  Makes sense though.
  • Practice grounding strategies before sorting session (relaxation, visualization) We practice a grounding/meditation after our break at the group every week and it helps to get everyone back together.  It is a great tool to help you to get focused.
  • Make activity enjoyable- put some good music on!  Love this idea!! Play a favourite CD while you work on one task.  When it is finished stop and stretch and then you may feel like continuing on with the task.
  • Reward yourself, do something enjoyable after each session.  This is hard work so it is important to pat yourself on the back.

Do you have any great tips for Organizing Success?  Please comment below.

About Kimberley

I am a Case Manager at My Sisters' Place which is a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association London Middlesex. My Sisters' Place is a program for vulnerable women. I love my job and all the wonderful women I work with. I am very honored to do this work with women who have been through so much and are so open in sharing their stories. I initiated and designed a Clearing Clutter Support Group which I have been facilitating since 2007 with a co-worker. I love running this group and learn so much from the participants. We offer this eight week program three or four times a year. I started my business Space For You in 2010 and work with individuals in their homes as well as offer some workshops in the community. I am available to speak to groups on "De-Cluttering Your Life", "The Magic of De-Cluttering", "Space Clearing" or really anything to do with clutter and hoarding.
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8 Responses to My Best Tips for Organizing Success

  1. Seana Turner says:

    I did a talk once on “putting your house on a diet” and I talked about how when you are on a diet, you need to limit what you take in. Same is true for a period of decluttering. Great tips here!

    • Kimberley says:

      Hi Seana, Sounds like an interesting talk. I find that most people I work with live in small spaces which really dictate to them how much stuff they can have in their homes. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I love your tip about practicing grounding/relaxation exercises before starting the organizing process. Even a few deep breaths can make such a difference in getting one in the right mindset.

    • Kimberley says:

      Yes, me too Sarah. We do this half way through the Clearing Clutter Group too and it helps everyone get back to a sense of calm and openness ready to do the next piece of work. Mindset is a big issue for people who are struggling with organizing. Thanks so much Sarah.

  3. Wonderful group of organizing success tips! My favorite one that you mentioned is minimizing distractions. We are so used to multi-tasking, but our brains aren’t designed to do that very well. When we minimize distractions whether that’s digital, human or otherwise, we can be present and focused during the organizing process.

    • Kimberley says:

      Thank you Linda. Yes, I think we can all relate to being distracted as there is just so much going on in our everyday lives that it is really a big challenge to really be able to slow down, be calm and in the right mood or mindset as Sarah said. 🙂

  4. Great tips! I am all about only touching something once. We call it the one touch rule in our house. I’ve never heard it called OHIO before, but I like it!

    • Kimberley says:

      Awesome Crystal – there is a saying that has come out of a Peer Group that I supervise and it is “what goes in the box, stays in the box” Similar idea and being aware of this tool can really be helpful (avoids all of that second guessing and allows for letting go)

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